By Christine Maggiore
How I Cured Myself of AIDS
This past March, I had the unsettling experience of being diagnosed with an AIDS-defining condition. The news arrived with cruel precision on the 10-year anniversary of testing HIV positive, fitting perfectly with the orthodox axiom that we get a decade of normal health before our AIDS kicks in. Actually, the 10-years-to-AIDS rule only applies to HIV positives who have not yet passed a decade in good health. Those living in wellness beyond that time automatically upgrade to 15 AIDS-free years — unless they’ve already spent 16 or 17 years not getting sick, in which case the cut-off point becomes 20 years.
But anyway, back to my saga.
My new diagnosis was based on a grade 3 Pap smear indicating cervical dysplasia. As you may know, cervical cancer and cervical dysplasia were added to the definition of AIDS in 1993 causing the number of women who could be classified as having AIDS to increase notably. My gynecologist drop kicked me right into this unfortunate group.
Although I do not concur with the popular ideology promoting HIV as the cause of AIDS, I was devastated. I imagined Dr. Matilde Krim cackling with delight at this seemingly tragic turn of events. Director of the orthodox AIDS research effort AmFar, Krim had pronounced me “delusional” in a national television broadcast for daring to consider myself healthy. According to the good doctor, I am merely enjoying the so-called latency period between testing positive and getting sick and if she has her way, I will absolutely die of AIDS.
The diagnosis was not only frightening, but totally inconvenient to my work. I fell prey to despair, called my husband and sobbed into the phone. Together, we recovered my rationality. I dried my tears and asked the doctor to perform another test.
Given the unreliability of diagnostics in general, and the fact that Pap smear slides are read by lab technicians for a matter of seconds, this seemed a perfectly reasonable request. She refused, however, imploring me to “stop being in denial,” and acquiesced only after I politely but unrelentingly insisted.
My second Pap came back grade 2, a slightly less concerning level of diagnosis. According to my doctor, this test suggested the presence of Human Papilloma Virus or HPV, a supposedly contagious condition associated with cervical cancer. Since I have never been diagnosed with a sexually- transmitted disease, my husband’s never had one, we’ve been together for six years, and all my previous Paps have been normal, I questioned the new results. She interpreted my skepticism as further evidence I was lolling in denial.
In fact, I based my questions on refutations I’d read of the HPV/cervical cancer hypothesis, Professor Peter Duesberg’s well-referenced deconstruction in particular. I recalled how the assumption that HPV caused cervical cancer had risen to popularity in the late 1970s following the complete failure of the Herpes Virus/cervical cancer hypothesis of the 1960s. According to studies, half the American adult population is infected by HPV yet only one percent of women develop the cancer, and while equal numbers of men and women have HPV, men rarely develop penile cancers.
My doctor responded to these citations by recommending I see a specialist. After much discussion, this gynecologist acknowledged that the presence of HPV only correlates with cervical cancer in some cases, and there is no evidence of a direct, causal relationship.
Both gynecologists agreed I should disregard the second test and consider the cervical dysplasia diagnosis to be correct. Both recommended a colposcopy, a fairly invasive and painful procedure. One doctor urged me to act promptly, going so far as to invite me to her office that weekend for a free colposcopy. Instead, I decided to gather other opinions from holistic health practitioners. In consultation with a naturopath, I determined I would follow the gynecologist’s advice and act as if the worst-case scenario were true, that I had cervical dysplasia or cervical cancer. Together, we created a protocol that would serve to better my health no matter what diagnosis — if any — were correct. This program included detoxing, colon hydrotherapy, digestive enzymes, daily juicing, food combining, some new supplements, and regular exercise — something I’d slacked off on since the birth of my daughter. On my own, I added ozone therapy to the regimen.
In August, I had a new Pap smear performed by a third gynecologist. I used an assumed name and did not mention my HIV status. This time the result was normal.
My doctor was out when I called with the good news, so I left a message with the front office manager who was totally unimpressed. She explained, “That happens all the time. Most women get an abnormal Pap after having a baby. We just run the test again and it usually comes back normal. If not, the doctor gives them this little cream and that takes care of it.”
Until that moment, no one had mentioned an abnormal test was normal after childbirth, that second smears are routinely performed in such cases, or that there was any “little cream.”
I have since discovered that the overwhelming majority of my female friends — all HIV negative, both with and without children — have received abnormal Pap results like mine. In every case, their results reverted to normal upon further testing and with no therapy.
Because I test HIV positive, I’m treated differently than “normal” people, but because my diagnosis inspired me to research and investigate, I’ve gained an abnormal amount of knowledge. This knowledge kept me from giving into the notion I suddenly had AIDS and prevented me from risking invasive medical procedures or succumbing to pressure to take toxic AIDS drugs.
Even with all I know, standing up to medical authorities is not easy. The dysplasia diagnosis confirmed their beliefs about HIV and they regarded my supposed illness as the expected outcome. I felt frustrated, and at times even humiliated. I had to insist they give me what most everyone gets without discussion — the chance to be a healthy human being until proven otherwise.
According to official definitions, I had AIDS a few months ago. I’ll never know if the detoxing, ozone treatments, and dietary changes “cured” me, if the assumed name made a difference, or if like most women, my cervical abnormalities went away on their own . . . if they ever even existed in the first place.
I offer this experience with hopes that those of you also labeled HIV positive will find the strength to act in your best interests when faced with health challenges. All too often, our options are eliminated by medical authorities that encourage us to believe the worst, disregard the facts, ignore our intuition, and obey orders. We have the right to question.
For more answers to your questions, visit the Alive & Well website at www.aliveandwell.org
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